A Rare and Fine Imperial Folding Fan
QIANLONG PERIOD (1736-1799)
gilt ink on indigo-colored paper, zitan wood frames.
Qian Weicheng (1720-1772)
Birds Perched on Begonia Branches
signed with two seals: Chen, Cheng.
Calligraphy on the reverse:
Liang Shizheng (1697-1763)
The Imperial Selection of Tang Poetry
signed with two seals: Chen, Liang.
Ji Yun (1724-1805)
Calligraphy of the Imperial Poem of 'Hanchun Shi'
signed and inscribed.
The present lot demonstrates the culmination of a collaborative effort between three members of the imperial cabinet dear to the Qianlong emperor, made during the golden years of his reign in the eighteenth century. Of this fan, the guard bears refined calligraphy by Ji Yun in an inscription of an imperial poem, while scholar-official Liang Shizheng provided luxurious and attentive calligraphy of ten classic Tang verses selected by the emperor to describe vignettes of spring and its sense of boundless possibility. Finally, Qian Weicheng lent a hand more familiar with landscape to a rarely seen bird and flower painting. Examples of similar imperial fans are held in the collections of both the Palace Museum in Beijing and the National Place Museum in Taipei. These extant examples largely consist of works considered in their time as precious examples; whereas the Hanchun studio described in Qianlong's poem inscribed on the present lot in the Hall of Mental Cultivation was a location frequented by the emperor. Indeed, the ribs show old traces from opening and retracting quite possibly borne by imperial hand.
Length overall 25 x height 14 5/8 in., 63.5 x 47.3 cm.
Acquired from Hong Kong in the 1980-90s.
For similar examples, see The Palace Museum, accession no. 00136801, 00136803, 00136805, 00136806, 00136678-1/10, 00136757-4/24.
Property from the Collection of George R. Bruha, Chicago, Illinois
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